Review: ASUS ProArt PA32DC image-editing monitor
An integral step in any photographer or videographer’s workflow is the use of a calibrated, colour-accurate monitor. Without it, you are not seeing a true representation of the media you are viewing and therefore what you deliver to clients or publish online.
ASUS has recently launched the ProArt Display OLED PA32DC, a 31.5” 4K OLED monitor with a built-in motorised colourimeter. This new flagship ProArt Display is targeted at creative professionals who depend upon the accuracy and functionality of their monitor.
The ProArt PA32DC Display features an impressive 31.5-inch, 4K (3840 x 2160) HDR OLED 16:9 aspect ratio panel. With 10-bit colour depth and 99% coverage of the Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 colour spectrum, the monitor can display a wide gamut of colours. For photographers who regularly print their work, the near-complete coverage of the Adobe RGB colour space means you’ll be able to more accurately soft proof your images before sending them to print.
In reviewing some of my previous edits, the most noticeable difference was in the amount of detail in my images' shadow and dark regions. Shadows are rich with detail and the blacks appear truly black rather than dark grey. These black tones are made possible by the technology in OLED panels, enabling pixels to be individually turned off.
Similarly, with an impressive 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, there is plenty of detail in the highlights. For videographers, the monitor supports HDR formats such as HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision with VESA True Black 400 HDR certification, enabling creators to work on projects across multiple formats and platforms.
The ProArt OLED Display arrives factory pre-calibrated with a hard copy report included in the box. In line with ASUS’ ProArt ethos of delivering colour accurate monitors with the latest tech, they have included a built-in motorised colourimeter which can be used to calibrate the display.
Using the free ProArt Calibration Software, within a few clicks, the built-in colourimeter is automatically rotated into position on the screen, returning to its nested position once completed. I would have liked it if ASUS had designed the colourimeter so that its sensor wasn’t facing outward exposing itself to dust when not in use. Whilst you could make the argument that most buyers of this monitor would own a standalone colourimeter, the ease of use that comes with a built-in version has seen me calibrate more frequently.
Using the ProArt Calibration software, users can very easily calibrate the monitor using pre-set or user-defined modes. Thanks to the display’s internal scaler IC chip, the monitor is fully compatible with hardware-based calibration. Changes are saved directly to the monitor’s lookup table (LUT) rather than the computer, enabling the screen to be connected to multiple devices without any need for adjustment.
For professional colourists who require the use of proprietary hardware calibration software, the display is also compatible with Calman and Light Illusion ColourSpace and most major calibrators including X-Rite, Datacolor and Klein. Using my X-Rite i1Display Pro, I found it integrated well with the ProArt Calibration Software, however, due to the location of the built-in colourimeter, I found it difficult to position it on the screen.
ASUS has generously included two stand options with the ProArt Display OLED PA32DC. The primary stand offers easy adjustment to height, tilt, swivel, and pivot to change the orientation of the monitor from landscape to portrait. The lightweight mini stand on the other hand is ideally suited for users who need to frequently transport the display.
The feet of this mini stand cleverly rotate inward when not in use to ensure they don’t get damaged whilst in transport. There is also an included monitor hood to keep out unwanted reflections.
Whilst it’s not a bezel-less display, the angled bezels are elegantly designed, and the combination of matt black and brushed metal materials makes for a stylish monitor.
On the bottom right you’ll find the controls and multi-selector joystick for interacting with the monitor’s menu. There is also a proximity sensor that adjusts the brightness of the screen when you are not in front of it. The monitor does come with 2x 3W speakers, but I wouldn’t rely on them as my primary audio source.
The ProArt OLED Display features plenty of I/O ports to support a wide range of professional workflows. There are 3x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1x DisplayPort 1.4, 4x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, a headphone jack and 1x USB-C port capable of delivering 65W of power. ASUS also includes in the box all the cables you need to get started.
For Apple users, I tested the capabilities of this USB-C port with my 2020 13” Intel i5 MacBook Pro. Using the provided USB-C cable, I was able to seamlessly connect my MacBook Pro to the ProArt Display as a secondary monitor, whilst charging the laptop and gaining access to the 4x USB ports on the back of the display.
Set-up and Handling ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The initial set-up couldn’t have been easier. Simply lift the display using the built-in handle, rotate the mini-stand legs and you’re good to go! ASUS includes every cable you need, making attaching the monitor to your computer quick and easy.
As you’d expect from a flagship ASUS ProArt Display, it’s loaded with the latest tech.
From the built-in colourimeter to the 4K OLED display with just about every type of I/O connectivity that you could ever need, it’s hard to fault the feature set of this monitor.
Image Quality ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The image quality of this 31.5” 4K HDR OLED display is stunning. The OLED panel does a fantastic job of reproducing detail in the shadows and blacks. Its HDR functionality and near-complete coverage of the Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 colour space means that the monitor can cover a wide gamut of colours.
Paired with the user-friendly and convenient calibration process, you can be ensured of the continued accuracy of colours.
Value for Money ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Flagship tech is rarely considered value-for-money and with a price of just under $5,000 the ASUS ProArt OLED display is no exception. However, when you start comparing it to other high-end monitors with similar specs, the ProArt display is quite well priced.
ASUS has knocked it out of the park with their latest flagship monitor, creating a versatile and feature-rich display that will satisfy even the most demanding creative professional. With an eye-watering price tag of just under $5,000 at the time of writing, it’s fair to say that this isn’t going to be for everyone.
However, if you value and depend upon the colour accuracy of your monitor, investing in the ASUS ProArt PA32DC is money well spent.